Their Last Hoorah!

Their Last Hoorah!

The Last HoorahThis is the last hoorah for the old Democratic leaders. They know they are soon “out the door” because of their age.

Not having to stand for reelection because Nancy Pelosi (born March 26, 1940) who is now 80 years old and Charles “Chuck” Schumer (born November 23, 1950) who is 70 now, and Joseph “Joe” Biden Jr.(born November 20, 1942) who is 78 do not stand a chance in hell of holding on to power much longer.

They are now more desperate to overthrow Trump with the help of the media as they deal a death-blow to the investment community.

Beside their plan to restore taxes to the pre-Reagan era of 70%, their last hoorah is to impose a tax on every buy or sell transaction.

Wall Street has been dumping money into Governor Cuomo’s coffers trying to hold off this proposal.

He has been standing up against the Democrats in Washington but this is yet still part of the intense battle going on for the 2020 election.

Should You Borrow Gold?

Should You Borrow Gold?

Should You Borrow Gold? Gold does not bear interest which is why it has often been called a dead asset.

It costs to store it and with no income from the investment without selling it has always been one of the major obstacles to institutional investing in gold. Others have argued that central banks were the biggest lenders of gold and they did so to manipulate prices.

That myth has never stood the test of time for they were lending gold in up and down markets which never altered the natural cycle. In general, any entity which owns gold has always sought to lease it out to earn income.

The borrowers have been generally mines who may need to smooth their cash flow and will borrow gold to sell now which is replaced when the newly mined gold is refined and then used to repay the loan. Other borrowers have tended to be jewelry manufacturers who may be operating on a contract basis to buy gold and again need to borrow to smooth out the flow of manufacture.

Borrowing gold has normally been conducted at interest rates which are below that of borrowing cash because there are costs to physically deliver gold. Consequently, there have been also arbitrages on the interest rates between gold loans and cash loans. This is another whole new area of complexity. Therefore, the fact that gold loans have gone negative is indeed a reflection of lower demand from some industries like the jewelry trade as stores are locked down and people have lost their jobs and marriages have crashed.

If we look at the numbers from the Gold Council you will see that in 2019 new mine gold declined. The sharp rise in the gold supply is coming from people selling their old gold jewelry we called scrap. The rise in gold scrap is reflecting the decline in demand from the jewelry trade.

Indeed, the World Gold Council put out that the gold jewelry trade declined 6% in 2019. As the recession expands into 2022, the retail jewelry demand will decline rather than expand.

With retail down, this is contributing to gold lease rates moving negative.

So, the answer to the question of “Should You Borrow Gold?” is NO. However, you can profit handsomely whether Gold’s price rises or declines.  

InterAnalyst members are immediately notified of directional momentum in Daily, Weekly, and Monthly momentum charts with signals like the actual samples above.

National Coin Shortage

National Coin Shortage

National Coin ShortageMany retail businesses including grocery stores and fast-food restaurants have been wrangling with a national coin shortage.

Some are posting notices informing customers that they will need to pay in exact change or use alternative payment methods such as credit cards.

What’s driving this scarcity of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies?

The answer from the U.S. Mint: COVID-19. The virus caused some Mint branches to temporarily slow or suspend production this spring. By May, the total number of circulating coins minted this year came in at around 4 billion, a 1 billion-coin shortfall compared with the same period in 2019.

Now as economic activity recovers, there aren’t enough coins to go around.

A big part of the problem is that the Mint continues to produce more pennies than any other denomination. It now costs two cents to mint a penny, making them a losing proposition from an economic perspective.

It’s questionable whether the typical consumer even wants to bother with collecting pennies as change. Their value has been so diminished by inflation that they are functionally worthless.

Over the past 50 years, the purchasing power of U.S. coins has gone down by then 85%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own CPI Inflation Calculator.

Anyone in 1970 who had proposed minting a fractional pennyworth only one-fifth of one cent would have been laughed at. Yet today, the penny laughably circulates at less than one-fifth the purchasing power of a cent in 1970.

Back then, pennies were composed of solid copper. Today they contain mainly cheaper zinc. (Pre-1983 copper pennies can be purchased by investors based on their intrinsic copper value for potential use in barter and trade – or to profit from rising copper prices.)

According to sound money advocate Will Luther, pennies “get minted today because clever lobbyists are good at harnessing nostalgia and advancing junk arguments about rounding. A private coin industry would not be able to waste taxpayer funds for the sake of subsidizing metal miners or pleasing their representatives in Congress. Instead, private mints would produce the kind of coins people actually want to use.”

While the practical case for ditching pennies is strong given their extremely low utility these days, we would caution against the dangers of sliding down a slippery slope that could lead to the elimination of all circulating coinage and paper notes.

Big banks and some government bureaucrats have used the global pandemic as an excuse to push for a cashless, all-electronic payment regime.

The recent National Coin Shortage has been awfully convenient for advancing the War on Cash – an agenda that would ultimately do away with financial privacy by forcing everyone onto traceable digital systems.

Since currently circulating coins and paper cash are poor stores of value, the best way to hold money privately, off the financial grid, is through hard money.

Coins, rounds, and bars with intrinsic metal value in their copper, gold, silver, platinum, or palladium content have the potential to gain purchasing power over time.

How The V Became W

How The V Became W

A possible change in near-term trend is likely as we approach this month in S&P 500 established back during March. Normally, this implies that the next turning point should be a reaction high. Technical resistance stands at 3393.76 and it will require a closing above this level to signal a breakout of the upside is going to unfold. Our technical support lies at 2271.03 which is still holding at this time. which is still holding at this time,” stated Livio S Nespoli of InterAnalyst.us.

Some caution is necessary since the last high 3393.52 was important given we did obtain three sell signals from that event established during February. Nonetheless, this market is trading below that high by more than 5 percent. Critical support still underlies this market at 2532.68 and a break of that level on a monthly closing basis would warn a further significant decline ahead becomes possible.

The market has consolidated for the past 2 Months and only 3393.54 would suggest a reversal in the immediate trend. The previous low of 219186 made during March only a break of 244749 on a Monthly closing basis would warn of a technical near-term change in trend.

With recent spikes in coronavirus cases and fluctuations in the economic data, the market seems to be stuck in a range amid elevated volatility and how the V became a W.

“For now, volatility and choppy markets remain our base case as an uneven economic recovery likely unfolds, the stock market was suggesting a V-shaped recovery, but the more likely scenario is rolling Ws with a sideways to downward bias.” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said in a note.

The central bank unleashed another weapon in its arsenal this week, saying it will start buying individual corporate bonds. As comforting as it is to have the Fed’s support, the central bank can only do so much to ease investor fears.

“The Fed can’t prevent the volatility we’re seeing in stocks, and tt will likely take years for the economy to fully recover and there remain other uncertainties on the path ahead. As such, investors may continue to struggle with this mismatch between markets and the economy before seeing the case for new highs.”

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reminded investors again in his semiannual testimony before Congress that “significant uncertainty remains about the timing and strength of the recovery.”

Where The Stock Market Goes Now?

Where The Stock Market Goes Now?

Where The Stock Market Goes Now…

With the Rails index back to all-time highs this seems like an especially appropriate question considering the fundamental data which is…. well, see for yourselves.

Consider where rail stocks are trading:

Do fundamentals justify this price? Here is the chart of total carload and intermodal traffic for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2020 was 4,713,757 carloads, down 14.7 percent, or 815,413 carloads, from the same period last year; and 5,186,630 intermodal units, down 11.3 percent, or 661,703 containers and trailers, from last year.

And another way to see the unprecedented divergence tells us Where The Stock Market Goes Now:

U.S. railroads originated 740,171 carloads in May 2020, down 27.7 percent, or 282,965 carloads, from May 2019. U.S. railroads also originated 912,922 containers and trailers in May 2020, down 13 percent, or 136,241 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in May 2020 were 1,653,093, down 20.2 percent, or 419,206 carloads and intermodal units from May 2019.

In May 2020, one of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with May 2019. It was farm products excl. grain, up 324 carloads or 10.6 percent.

Meanwhile, commodities that saw declines in May 2020 from May 2019 were coal, down a record 127,201 carloads or 40.7%; Coal carloads are down 26.1% so far this year and have declined on an annual basis for 13 straight months.

In short, lowest rail traffic in years, and that was based on a trend even before the coronavirus, and yet rails stocks are at all time high.

Here is why:

As BMO rates strategist Ian Lyngen writes in “Jay’s Market, Just Trading in it“, a core theme of trading has been “the remarkable resilience of the equity market despite a shuttered economy, historic job losses and civil unrest across the US.”

So to get to the bottom of the question on every trader’s mind – just who is behind this rally – BMO sent out a poll to its clients where the first question showed a clear consensus for the driver behind the move; “73% offered the Fed as the inspiration behind the S&P 500’s impressive rally”, vastly more than those who cited labor market recovery/reopening optimism (6%) greater fiscal stimulus (5%), and progress on Covid-19 treatment (6%). And now that Powell owns this rally, he better not allow to reverse.

1. What is driving the swift recovery of equities?

a) Fed – 73%
b) Earnings Optimism – 0%
c) Labor market recovery – 6%
d) Further fiscal stimulus – 5%
e) Progress in treating/preventing Covid-19 – 6%
f) Other (please specify) – Reopening Optimism/ All of the Above/ Underinvestment

Less relevant to the market’s ramp but just as interesting in terms of what markets expect for the Fed to unveil next in the central bank’s creeping nationalization of capital markets, were responses to BMO’s second special question – when, or even if the FOMC will roll out yield curve control – which were not nearly as clear cut with a wide variety of opinions. 3-6 months was the most common answer with 33%, which points to the September, November, or December meeting as the most probable venue for the introduction of the new policy tool. Within ‘3 months’ or ‘not this cycle’ both took a roughly equal share as the second most frequent reply, so as Lyngen notes, “clearly investors are split on whether YCC needs to be deployed rapidly, or not at all given the state of the economy and recovery. 6-9 months and 9+ months both rounded out the replies with 14% and 12%, respectively.”

2. When will the Fed announce yield curve control?

a) Within 3 months – 21%
b) 3-6 months – 33%
c) 6-9 months – 14%
d) 9+ months – 12%
e) Not this cycle – 20%

Finally, an interesting snapshot on how investors respond to data is BMO’s question how respondents will react to tomorrow’s jobs report: In the event of a disappointment and a Treasury market rally, the clearest takeaway was a reluctance to take profits – only 25% would sell versus a 37% average and the lowest read since October 2019. Meanwhile 11% would join the rally and buy and 64% would do nothing compared to respective averages of 7% and 56%.

The other meaningful takeaway was a positive skew on the belly of the curve as 36% thought the next 15 bp in 5-year yields will be higher; well below the 45% average and matching last month’s figure as the lowest since November 2019.

Watch out below.  The International Monetary Crisis Is Starting, and you will witness precisely where the stock market goes now. Will you avoid the pain.

Velocity Of Financial Collapse

Velocity Of Financial Collapse

The velocity of money is like blood pressure. If it is too high or too low, it can be the Velocity Of Financial Collapse. Too high indicates inflationary pressures are building and/or the presence of speculative bubbles. If too low, deflationary pressures are growing, presaging a dangerous collapse. (eLearning)

The velocity of money reached its high during the 1990s dot.com bubble. After it collapsed in 2000, low-interest rates (2002-2007) fueled another bubble, the US property bubble, and when it collapsed in 2008, the velocity of money again plunged and never recovered.

Despite trillions spent by central banks after 2009, the velocity of money has continued to fall. Today, in 2020, the velocity of money reached an all-time low. In Q1, the average velocity was only 1.37. Q2 will be even lower.

To offset the historic plunge in demand caused by COVID-19, central banks resorted to money printing on an unprecedented scale. While the money printing will stave off starvation for the vast majority at the bottom of the economic food chain and ensure profits for the few still at the top; today’s money printing will turn fiat money into little more than food stamps and give the economic elites little incentive to do otherwise.

Despite central banks’ excessive money printing, hyperinflation may not occur, at least not immediately. In capitalist economies, because currencies are circulating coupons of credit and debt, when credit disappears, so, too, does “money”; and, today, money is disappearing into deflation’s waiting paw even faster than the Fed can print it.

The mandate of the Fed in 1913 was to create a system of debt-based fiat money that insured bankers profited, i.e. “made bank”, off all societal productivity, a never-before-seen form of economic parasitism.

Since that time, the Fed has done admirably with that mandate, given the problems they’ve had to deal with, e.g. a dangerously low gold/fiat ratio in the 1920s, the 1929 stock market crash, the 1930s collapse of world trade, the loss of gold reserves due to US overseas military spending, the serial collapse of bubbles beginning in 2000 triggering “the great recession of 2008, the amuse-bouche to what is now about to happen, 

America the Frog

AMERICA THE FROG

The frog is frozen still 

In water now so hot 

The water’s almost boiling 

But the frog knows it not

Quickly it must jump

To avoid a boiling death

The Fates themselves are watching

With collective bated breath

Will America survive?

Or will it now succumb

Its heritage abandoned

Its future now undone

By its own hand it’s threatened

Itself its great threat

The frog continues sitting still

In denial ignorant yet

The water’s getting hotter

The heat’s turned up to high

And it’s an even money bet

That the frog is gonna die

It is June 2020. The water’s boiling. The frog’s still in the pot. The velocity of financil collapse it closer than we might imagine.

Protect yourself now.

Has The U.S. Economy Plunged Into A Depression?

Has The U.S. Economy Plunged Into A Depression?

“Face reality, and that means admitting that “the U.S. economy has plunged into a depression.”

This is already the worst economic downturn that America has experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are right in the middle of the largest spike in unemployment in all of U.S. history by a very wide margin.

Of course, it was fear of COVID-19 that burst our economic bubble, and fear of this virus is going to be with us for a very long time to come.  So we need to brace ourselves for an extended economic crisis, and at this point, even Time Magazine is openly referring to this new downturn as an “economic depression”.

Needless to say, there will be a tremendous amount of debate about how deep it will eventually become, but everyone should be able to agree that our nation hasn’t seen anything like this since before World War II.

In order to prove my point, let me share the following 10 numbers with you…

#1 According to a study that was just released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 100,000 U.S. businesses have already permanently shut down during this pandemic, and that represents millions of jobs that are never coming back.

#2 The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is now projecting that U.S. GDP will shrink by 42.8 percent during the second quarter…

“A new GDP forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta for the three months through June estimates an unprecedented drop of 42.8 percent. The bank describes the data as a “nowcast” or real-time, compared with the official government report of GDP, which is dated. The first-quarter preliminary data, which showed a 4.8 percent dip, included a limited period of impact from COVID-19.”

#3 On Friday we learned that U.S. retail sales were down 16.4 percent during the month of April, and that is a new all-time record.

#4 U.S. factory output was down 13.7 percent last month, and that was the worst number ever recorded for that category.

#5 U.S. industrial production fell 11.2 percent last month, and that represented the worst number in 101 years.

#6 On Thursday, we learned that the number of Americans that have filed initial claims for unemployment benefits during this pandemic has risen by another 2.9 million, and that brings the grand total for this entire crisis to 36.5 million.  To put that number in perspective, at the lowest point of the Great Depression of the 1930s only about 15 million Americans were unemployed.

#7 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the real rate of unemployment in the U.S. is now 30.7 percent.

#8 According to a survey Fed officials just conducted, almost 40 percent of Americans with a household income of less than $40,000 a year say that they have lost a job during this crisis.

#9 One study has concluded that 42 percent of the job losses during this pandemic will end up being permanent.

#10 According to a professor of economics at Columbia University, the U.S. homeless population could rise by up to 45 percent by the end of this calendar year.

We have never seen economic numbers this horrifying, and more awful economic numbers are coming in the months ahead.

At this point, things are so bad that even Fed Chair Jerome Powell is openly admitting that he doesn’t really know how long this new economic downturn will last…

“This economy will recover…We’ll get through this. It may take a while. It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year,” Powell said during a rare televised interview that aired on “60 Minutes” Sunday night. “We really don’t know. We hope that it will be shorter than that, but no one really knows.”

In the months ahead, there are a few sectors that you will want to keep a particularly close eye on, and one of them is the commercial real estate market.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

“Fast forward to today, coronavirus outbreak, and the ensuing lockdown, has essentially frozen the commercial real estate market. Buildings that were once used for restaurants, offices, hotels, spas, and or anything else that is classified non-essential have seen soaring vacancies.

This is single handily sending the commercial property market into chaos. As vacancies soar, tremendous downward pressure is being put on almost every asset class tied to commercial real estate.

The latest TREPP remittance data compiled by Morgan Stanley showed a quarter of all commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) could be on the verge of default.”

I am personally convinced that we are on the precipice of the greatest commercial real estate implosion in American history.

As the dominoes tumble, it is going to send wave after wave of devastation through the financial industry, and it is going to make the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2008 look like child’s play.

But at least bankruptcy lawyers will have plenty of work.  Last week we learned that J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and of course the bankruptcies that we have seen so far will just be the tip of the iceberg.

I think that politicians all over America are going to deeply regret overreacting to COVID-19, because nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together now that our economic bubble has burst.

Sadly, very few people understood how shaky our debt-fueled economic “boom” was, and ultimately it didn’t take that much to push us into a new economic depression.

And now every additional crisis that comes along is just going to escalate our economic troubles.  This is going to be one very long nightmare, and there will be no waking up from it any time soon.

Even before COVID-19 came along, homelessness had become a massive problem in many of our major cities, and now tent cities are rapidly multiplying in size.

There is going to be so much economic pain in the months ahead, and it could have all been avoided if we had made much different choices as a nation.

But we didn’t, and so now we all get to pay the price.

Mr. Snyder wrote this article and I respect his opinion. I am not taking issue with his story, but he is a respected conservative voice in a world of noise.

So, I ask you, what if he is correct in his judgment and collapse is coming sooner than later?

Are you prepared for what is going to happen to your retirement and investment account values?

Are you sheltered from those accounts declining 40%? 50%, 60%, or more.

The Wealth Preserver Membership can protect your account from any stock market collapse. Please know that until it does collapse, your investments continue to grow as usual. 

P/E Ratio: The Over/Under Value Market Indicator

P/E Ratio: The Over/Under Value Market Indicator

In section 5 of yesterday’s post I quickly introduced an investment topic called the Shiller P/E (CAPE).

This is the most significant, proven, long-term directional indicator that has ever existed for long-term stock market direction.

It is not a daily or weekly trading system but can certainly help you know which direction the market is moving as it reaches a top or bottom.

The Shiller (CAPE) P/E Ratio is now famous, yet forgotten because most Financial Advisors either keep it under wraps or have never been taught its true power. Essentially, a high P/E means Over Priced stocks.

The chart below is the Shiller P/E Ratio dating back to 1880.

As you can see, the median P/E since 1880 is 15.77 and that is enough data to understand that historically investors over the last 140 years have recognized that a share of company stock should be roughly 16 times its earnings.

In clearer terms, if a company made $1, its share price should be $15.77.

Horrible Investor Value

Now, take a look at the chart above to view the Over Valued and Under Valued P/E Levels.

When the Shiller (CAPE) is 20 and above, stock prices are too high for a long-term buy and hold strategy. Performance will likely remain poor for up to 20 years.

Most importantly, any time the P/E rose above 20, it eventually and ALWAYS back down below 10, typically below 7, before it bottomed.

As you can see in the image below, when the Shiller P/E Ratio rises above 20, it can take many years for values to get back down. The year of the great depression brought the P/E back in line within 4 years. However, outside of great depression, it takes up to 20 years or longer to get stocks back to a fair price.

Our current period dating back to the 1999 top is still declining back to fair prices. Here’s the point: Buying the stock market when the CAPE P/E Ratio if the S&P500 index is above 20 is an immense risk of little to no return on your money.

Great Investor Value

Now, when the Shiller (CAPE) hits 10 or below, then it is an amazing time to Buy and Hold the market indexes or any stock of value. Historically, a P/E of 4 – 7 will allow you to to perform extremely well over the next 7 – 20 years. In fact, you will perform 10,000% – 30,000% or better. That is what buying at the right P/E price point will do for you.

For a little clarification, had you invested $10 in the S&P500 on January 1, 1985 (P/E ratio of 10.36), today you would have over $3,500! Not bad for timing with the Shiller P/E!

So lets look to see if this is a great time to be a Buy and Hold Investor like in 1985?

Reviewing the same chart (below) modified to include colors indicating when to invest for optimum Buy and Hold performance.

Avoid Buy & Hold investing if the Shiller P/E value is within the Red area.  This area has proven to deliver returns similar to bank accounts if you deduct inflation from the return. Not good.

However, if the Shiller P/E ratio value is within the Green area, you can buy the S&P 500 Index and make significant long term returns.

Great Investor Value

Now, when the Shiller (CAPE) hits 10 or below, then it is an amazing time to Buy and Hold the market indexes or any stock of value. Historically, a P/E of 4-7 will allow you to to perform extremely well over the next 7 – 20 years. In fact, you will perform 10,000% – 30,000% or better. That is what buying at the right P/E price point will do for you.

For a little clarification, had you invested $10 in the S&P500 on January 1, 1985 (P/E ratio of 10.36), today you would have over $3,500! Not bad for timing with the Shiller P/E!

So lets look to see if this is a great time to be a Buy and Hold Investor like in 1985?

Reviewing the same chart (below) modified to include colors indicating when to invest for optimum Buy and Hold performance.

Avoid Buy & Hold investing if the Shiller P/E value is within the Red area.  This area has proven to deliver returns similar to bank accounts if you deduct inflation from the return. Not good.

However, if the Shiller P/E ratio value is within the Green area, you can buy the S&P 500 Index and make significant long term returns.

The point of this entire article is to let compare where we are today relative to 140 years of real data. 

Significantly, every single time there “was a significant crash or two” associated with the decline back to value. Here is reality:

At a Shiller P/E Ratio of 26.97, we are not nearly as high as 44 in 1999. But, just to get back to a normal Shiller P/E bottoming area below 10, the stock market will have to drop by 62% from here!

27 – 10 = 17

17 / 27 = -62% 

If you are a Buy & Hold Investor, you should know that based on history dating back to 1880, you are NOT  positioned for strong buy and hold returns. In fact, you are dreadfully positioned right now though 2032. 

Can you afford a 45%-60% decline back to value. Its progressing to that as you read this historical lesson.

You must find a strong, well proven, historically accurate system that allows you to invest when the markets are moving up, on the sideline when the markets head down, and back in when they head up again.

You will do vastly better that Buy & Hold if own a Monthly, Weekly, or Daily professional trade signal platform that will help guide you through the next 20 years. Your membership will put you light years ahead of everyone else who is Buying and Holding at precisely the wrong time as history has proven.

We will help get you to where you want starting today following simple Green and Red lights.

The P/E Ratio Is Screaming At You

The P/E Ratio Is Screaming At You

The P/E Ratio Is Screaming At You so today I am laying the groundwork for tomorrows post. So lets get started and learn about the P/E Ratio.

The price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings. P/E ratios are used by investors and analysts to help determine the relative value of a company’s shares in an apples-to-apples comparison.

It can also be used to compare a company against its own historical record or to compare aggregate markets against one another or over time. The ubiquitous P/E ratio is typically the first metric investors learn on their journey towards financial freedom.

One of the biggest mistakes I see new investors make is their use of the P/E ratio because the P/E ratio has some significant drawbacks that you should be aware of before we teach you the profitable and proven benefits of this indicator.

Today, lets cover 5 points the ratio will not teach us and tomorrow we will learn precisely how it can tell us which direction the markets are going shortly. 

What the P/E Ratio Teaches us is vitally important so first we have to quickly learn what it does not teach us. 

1. Price is not a good measure for what a company is worth

The first issue with the P/E ratio is the ‘P’ part of the formula. Typically, the ‘P’ stands for the share PRICE which corresponds to the market capitalization of the company. But there’s a problem with using only market capitalization. Market cap only represents the contribution of equity shareholders. Which means it doesn’t include any debt or cash on the balance sheet.

If you want to know the true worth of a company surely you need to include debt and cash? To do so, it’s better to use an alternative such as enterprise value which is the market cap, plus total debt, minus cash. Often, the market cap of a company will be similar to the enterprise value but sometimes it can be vastly different. GE, for example, has a market cap of over $52 billion but it’s enterprise value is more than double that at $111 billion. If you use market cap you get a lower P/E ratio than if you used the enterprise value. So by substituting market cap with enterprise value the formula immediately becomes more useful.

2. EPS is not a good measure of company earnings

Just like the ‘P’ in ‘P/E’ is inadequate, the ‘E’ part of the formula is also misleading. Typically, the ‘E’ represents earnings per share which is usually reported as the trailing twelve month EPS or in other words the net profit over the last 12 months.

The problem here is that EPS or net profit contains many different components and is therefore not necessarily a good indication of the real profitability of a company. For example, net profit is reported after accounting procedures such as depreciation and amortization.

These techniques are often used to massage the books, by inflating profits and pushing out losses. On top of that, net profit may include interest and tax payments, both of which are individual to the company and not necessarily useful for observing what profit a business is actually making.

So instead of using EPS or net profit, a better option is to use EBITDA which stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. In other words, it is the true earnings before all those components have made their mark. And so, instead of using the trusted P/E, which is market cap divided by EPS you can see it’s better to use a more comprehensive formula such as enterprise value divided by EBITDA.

3. P/E ratios are lagging metrics

Now we’ve looked at the limitations of the formula, you should understand that P/E ratios (like most financial metrics) are inherently misleading because they are lagging metrics. To put it plainly, when you plug in the earnings part of the formula you are typically using past data, typically the trailing 12 month EPS (or EBITDA).

Clearly, the problem with this is that the last 12 months of earnings are not necessarily predictive of the next 12 months. For example, consider a company that has a market cap of $1 billion and in the last twelve months reported net profit of $100 million. That would give it a P/E ratio of 10 which historically would make it cheap and an attractive buy.

But consider that the last 12 months were, in fact, a stand out year for the company based on a series of unusual economic events unlikely to occur again. And in fact, the company usually makes only $20 million a year, not $100 million. With a net profit of only $20 million, the P/E ratio would be 50 which is historically a high and unattractive multiple.

In other words, the stock is priced at 10 times last year’s earnings but 50 times next year’s earnings. The stock either needs to decline in price to bring the P/E back to a more realistic level or it needs to grow its earnings in line with last year’s stand-out numbers.

Either way, you can see that buying the stock based on last year’s earnings is a flawed strategy because it doesn’t consider future earnings or the historical earnings average.

4. P/E cannot be used for unprofitable companies

Divide any number by a negative and you end up with another negative. And so is the problem when using the P/E ratio for any company that reports negative earnings (of which there are many!). Consider, for example, the market cap for Uber which is currently $56 billion. And consider the latest 12-month EBITDA which was -$8.2 billion. 56 divided by -8.2 results in a P/E ratio of -6.8. So if low P/E ratios are good then Uber must be outrageously cheap.

But of course, we know it isn’t because the negative P/E doesn’t tell us anything. All it tells us is this company hasn’t reported any profit in the last 12 months. In other words, the P/E ratio for any unprofitable company is meaningless, except perhaps to say that this is a stock that may not provide any return unless it can soon get itself profitable. In a similar vein, the P/E ratio has limited ability when used to compare across industries.

Low growth industries such as conglomerates or utilities typically command lower P/Es which cannot be compared to other industries such as tech stocks which often have high P/Es or negative P/Es. Essentially, the P/E ratio is limited in its ability whenever the main consideration is growth or profitability.  

5. The Shiller P/E Ratio

The cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings (CAPE) ratio of a stock market is one of the standard metrics used to evaluate whether a market is overvalued, undervalued, or fairly-valued.

This metric was developed by Robert Shiller and popularized during the Dotcom Bubble when he proved (correctly) that equities were highly overvalued. For that reason, it’s also casually referred to as the “Shiller PE”, meaning the Shiller variant of the typical price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of stock.

It’s most commonly applied to the S&P 500, but can be and is applied to any stock index. The main benefit is that it is one of several broad valuation metrics that can help you determine how much of your portfolio should reasonably be invested into equities based on the current relationship between the price you pay for them and the value you get in return in the form of earnings.

Robert Shiller demonstrated using 130 years of backtested data that the returns of the S&P 500 over the next 20 years are strongly inversely correlated with the CAPE ratio at any given time.

In other words, whenever the CAPE ratio of the market is high, it means stocks are overvalued, and returns over the next 20 years will likely be poor. In contrast, whenever the ratio is low, it means the stocks are undervalued, and returns over the next 20 years will likely be good.

Are we under, over, of fairly valued in May 2020?

In tomorrows post we will analyze precisely where we are valued as a market and how InterAnalyst can help you maximize your portfolio growth now.

 

6 MUST FILL TRADING GAPS

6 MUST FILL TRADING GAPS

The last time I wrote about 6 Must Fill Trading Gaps was at the end of March, however our members were getting notifications in 2019 and into (01/3102/24, 2/28, and 3/02)  regarding Gaps and the potential consequences of ignoring them.

We all know what happens to the market if we ignore upside gaps…THE GAPS FILL TO THE DOWNSIDE.

The recent crash closed all the gaps dating back through 2018 before we started are ascent again.

I have been listening to the talking heads on Fox Business, CNN, Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, and many others. The all ask if this rally is just a long journey back up to eventual new highs. Plain and simple, their answers must be scripted. I personally know 2 of them and they are intelligent and practiced and know that 91% of all Gaps fill.

These well trained “guru’s” can easily look to their charts and know whats coming.

If you have downloaded and read our Gaps guide, then you know the 6 Must Fill Trading Gaps are going to eventually close and are already prepared for it.

I was having a nice cold Bud chatting socially with my next door neighbor and he asked me when to expect the Gaps to fill. My answer is always the same so brace for it. “I have no clue.”

What is more important is the recognition that dating all the way back to 2018 all the gains you made were gone in a matter of a few weeks. Now that it has risen 50% from the bottom of the current decline, are you ready to fill those gaps near the bottom?

If you are not ready for a retest, then grab a self paying subscription, or a bottle of Rolaids because it is coming. At a rate higher than 91%, the Green Gaps in the chart above will refill which means the market is coming back down.

History proves it. 

If this is even remotely close to the typical decline dating back to the 1600’s, its best to avoid the declining and simply jump back in close to the bottom.

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